Nick leads the Harriers pack at London Marathon

DESPITE a rather torrid second half in Sunday’s Virgin-sponsored London Marathon, Nick Swinburn still emerged as Morpeth Harriers’ leading finisher in 109th place overall.

Fresh from warm weather training in Kenya, Swinburn was having his first outing over the longer distance, and certainly paid a hard penalty for his hard first half of the race, which saw him clock 68m27s, as he slowed dramatically to record 2hrs36mins49secs.

Nevertheless Swinburn will have learnt a lot from the experience, and will now hopefully turn his attention to the Summer track campaign for his club, and should be capable of performing well over the 5,000m and 10,000m distances, which should also lead to a promising autumn on the roads.

Further down the field, Morpeth Harriers second finisher came in the form of Hamish McCallister-Williams, who clocked 3hrs11mins55secs, when placing 2,226th, and was 131st in the Over 50 Veteran Mens’ category.

Next home for the club was Tony Lewis, who completed in 3hrs19mins53secs, and was 3,149th finisher.

Other Morpeth Harriers who finished were Jane Briggs (2,120th Lady) 3hrs57mins31secs, and Paul Tomlinson (9,211th Man) 4hrs02mins50secs.

Unfortunately, Andrew Lawrence, having his first experience over the Marathon distance, was forced out at 24-miles suffering from exhaustion.

In the Mini Marathons that accompanied the main event, and covered a 5k route from Billingsgate to The Mall, Morpeth Harriers had several runners representing the North East.

One of the region’s finest performers was U15 athlete Alison Brown, who came home as fourth from the region in 58th place in her age group.

Also fourth from the region in the U13 Boys’ event was Morpeth’s Jacob Hopkins, who was 42nd in his category.

Accompanying Jacob in this event was clubmate Kieran Hedley, who was sixth from the region in 60th place.

In the U17 Boys’ event, Morpeth Harrier Jonnie Nisbet finished in 52nd place, and was fourth from the region.

U15 Boy Elliot Kelly bravely completed the U15 Boys’ event, after suffering stomach cramps during proceedings.

l ONE hundred and ninety eight finishers took part in the inaugural Wallsend Harriers Terry O’Gara Memorial 5k Road Race at Segerundum, Wallsend, on Sunday.

They were led home by the host club’s Ethiopian Yarod Hagos, who won in 14m49s, with just under a minute to spare over Leeds City’s former Chester-le-Street athlete Carl Smith, with Paul Aiston, also of the host club taking third place in 16m10s.

It was very fitting that nearly 200 runners should turn out in tribute to the former Wallsend Chairman, who had passed away exactly three months before the race, that was very much his very own brainchild.

Among the finishers were 13 Morpeth Harriers, who were led home by young Thomas Straughan, who finished well in 15th place in 17m10s.

Next home from the club was Paul Waterston, who was third Over 45 Veteran Man in 18th place in 17m19s.

Paul was closely followed home in 19th place by club colleague John Woods, (17m20s).

Fourth Over 45 Veteran Man was Morpeth’s Phil Walker, who finished 25th in 17m39s.

Further Morpeth Harriers performances were as follows:

Sam Hancox (37th) 18m22s; Rob Hancox (48th) (7th O/45) 18m58s; Graeme Leathard (55th) (8th O/45) 19m27s; Chris Waugh (62nd) (fifth O/50) 19m41s; Jim Alder (68th) (seventh O/50) 19m56s; Mike Steven (73rd) (eighth O/50) 20m20s; Richard Thomson (81st) (11th O/45) 20m44s; Scott Wilkes (91st) (13th O/45) 21m12s; Marie Drosdowicz (106th) (first O/50 Lady) 21m55s.

l AN excellent run in the English Schools Cross Country Championships in Somerset, where he was third for Northumberland, and fourth overall from the North East, found favour for Morpeth Harrier Jarod Lewis, when his clubs appointed judges voted him Benfield Athlete of the Month for March 2012.

Jarod, who has very much played his part in his clubs successful U15 Boys’ efforts during the season, finished 97th, and in the top half of the Junior Boys’ field.

l MORPETH Harriers proudly paid tribute to some of their Cross Country season successes last week, when they presented members of their U13 and U15 Boys’ squads with medals, following their fine achievements in winning their respective Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League sections, with some truly outstanding performances.

The medals were presented to all competing members of those squads by Morpeth Harriers Club President Jim Alder at their clubhouse, on Mitford Road, on Monday, April 16, and the trophy that each squad won from the league was also prominently on display.

Such was the strength of their U15 Boys’ section, Elliot Kelly topped the league’s Grand Prix rankings, and clubmates Philip Winkler and Ryan Green took second and third places respectively.

In the U13 Boys’ section Jacob Hopkins was third in the Grand Prix rankings, and clubmate Kieren Hedley was fifth.

l AN excellent start to the track season turned out to be a superb family occasion on Sunday, when brothers Ryan and Mitchell Green of Morpeth Harriers had respective victories at the Anne Marie Readshaw meeting held at Shildon.

Ryan knocked a whole six seconds off his previous figures when he won the U15 Boys’ 800m from his North East rival Henry Johnson of the host club.

After sitting in behind Johnson for most of the two lap event, Green stole away with 200m remaining, to win in 2m06.18s.

Johnson had tried to force the pace at the bell, however, Green rigorously stuck to the task in hand as the pair hurtled down the back straight for the final time, and can feel well pleased with the early outcome of the rivalry.

Not to be outdone, Mitchell blossomed in his baptism of fire in the U13 Boys’ 100m.

Firstly he won his heat, and went on to record a very promising 14.5s, that was good enough to reward a handsome victory in the final.

Morpeth Harrier Jack Hepple, who is very much in the process of resurrecting his athletics career following two broken legs sustained in football, did well to finish third in the B race of the U20 Mens’ 800m.